A phrase you'll hear over and over again when you run a business is "time is money". And, for the most part, it's very true. Especially when you have workers paid by the hour, it's tough not to see their time as a reflection of your business's value. Most modern offices have lots of wasted time that could easily be trimmed to save everyone a headache, and save you some money. These tips will give you some good ways to start saving time.
1. Software and Automation
Managing a team of people can be tough on your own. Requests for breaks, time off, and sick days add up over time, and you can wind up with a lot of money thrown out the window. Relying on pen and paper systems will frequently become a headache and errors are inevitable. Investing in good management software will save time in more ways than one.
If you're supervising a team and want a good way to manage their time clocks, a time card calculator is a great tool to have. You can track their productivity as well as their reported hours, giving you a better idea of how their time has actually been spent on a certain task. Automation is also a necessity in modern business, as certain tasks just can't be done as well by a human as by a machine. Give the monotonous tasks to your software and watch as you gain time back.
2. Minimal Distractions
A lot of wasted time during the workday comes down to unnecessary distractions. While it's good for employees to bond over a conversation in the break room and feel comfortable stopping by each other's desks for a chat, it's best to keep these interactions at a reasonable minimum. Encourage employees to take their lunch breaks together to cut down on the need for conversations throughout the work day.
But time can be wasted by work-related interactions, as well. Most meetings can be summarized easily by a mass email, and chat software can easily interrupt an employee's train of thought, so consider replacing longer meetings with a shorter daily one. Allow employees to turn off their notifications, encouraging them to check their email during specific times, and allow them to have plenty of time for focused and productive work.
3. No Multitasking
Some individuals truly are great at multitasking, but the truth is, many of us are challenging ourselves to a task we're not up to. Productivity doesn't come down to the number of things you've worked on in a day, but the volume of work you've completed. Allow yourself to prioritize a certain task and work on it until it's complete.
But even if you only have one thing on the to-do list, your phone and email will cause you to multitask socializing, reading the news, or shopping while you're trying to get work done. Certain browser extensions can be used to keep you on-task for a period of time, and will prevent distractions as you focus on one page. You should also consider turning the phone off, or do not disturb. You'll feel a lot calmer and more prepared to complete a task, rather than bouncing from item to item every day.
4. Open Communication
It's important for your employees' productivity that they feel comfortable bringing their concerns to you. This is a not so obvious way of improving efficiency. Especially if your business is on the larger side, there's no way you'll be able to see every issue in every department. Making your employees comfortable with communicating what they see will result in faster improvements being implemented. Trusting your employees to know what should be changed will empower them to take a more active role in making your business a success.
These four tips are a great start for improving your business's efficiency. With a little effort and a few great tools, you'll have more time than you'll know how to use.